What Is the Etiquette for Attending Jewish Funerals?

Jewish Funeral Service

If you’ve previously been to funeral services for an individual of the Christian faith, you will likely find that the funeral rites are similar for a Jewish funeral. However, there are some differences. Jewish funeral services usually do not include a visitation and they may be held at the funeral home, rather than at a synagogue. There may not be a graveside service at the cemetery; however, individuals who were especially close to the family or the deceased may be asked to accompany the casket to the burial plot.

Dressing for the Funeral
It is not generally expected that all of the mourners will wear an all-black outfit. This rule of thumb applies regardless of whether the decedent was of Christian or Jewish faith. However, if you do choose to wear colors other than black, choose somber, conservative colors. If you’re female, keep your makeup and jewelry minimal. If you’re male, you may be provided with a yarmulke to wear.

Attending the Funeral
Arrive at least a few minutes early to the funeral home. The funeral director will let you know where you should sit. Avoid approaching the family members and other mourners at this time. Instead, remain respectfully silent throughout the service or participate in the prayers if you’re familiar with them. Sometimes, at the end of the service, friends and distant relatives are asked to form two opposing lines. The immediate mourners will then walk between the lines. This is a symbolic gesture that the mourners are not alone in their grief.

Offering Your Condolences
To offer your condolences to the family members, write a brief note in the guest book at the funeral home. Avoid sending flowers to the home or to the funeral home. Instead, make a donation to a charity in the memory of the decedent. Another way to show that you care is to connect with the individuals who are organizing the reception. Ask whether you can bring food to the home while the family is sitting shiva.

At Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park, our funeral home professionals can help your family design funeral services in San Mateo that are in accordance with your loved one’s faith. Our memorial park provides a beautiful, serene place to reflect upon the cherished memories of your loved ones. If you have any questions about our respectful funeral options, call us at (650) 349-4411.

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